ALEXANDRIA, VA (June 20, 2016) — Opponents of North Carolina’s voter photo ID law wrongly sought to use an illegal interpretation of the Voting Rights Act to attack North Carolina’s election integrity law, the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) argues in a brief filed on June 16 at the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Regarding North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, et al. v. Patrick L. McCrory, et al., the brief, notes that a U.S. District Court rightly rejected the plaintiffs’ claim that the law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
In 2013, in Shelby County v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which had required Southern states and other jurisdictions to obtain preclearance from a D.C.-based court panel or from the U.S. Justice Department for any changes in districting or voting laws. The Court said the requirement was based on obsolete data and was no longer necessary, but left intact Section 2, which empowers the federal government to address discriminatory voting conditions in the states.
In the current case, the plaintiff attempted to make a purely statistical case of disparate impact that the law discriminates against minorities. The plaintiffs sought to use hair-trigger standards to strike down state laws that the Supreme Court invalidated in Shelby County.
“The appropriate standard is one that looks to the totality of the circumstances, as expressed in Section 2, and does not use statistical disparities between groups of voters to establish liability,” the ACRU brief says.
The District Court’s ruling upholding the law “is consistent with traditional Section 2 jurisprudence, does not conflict with Shelby County, and preserves the constitutional balance between states and the federal government,” the brief states.
“The opponents of common-sense voter ID laws are attempting an end run around the Supreme Court,” said Susan A. Carleson, Chairman/CEO of the ACRU. “The District Court got it right, and we are confident that North Carolina’s law will stand in the appeals process.”
Read brief. (PDF 179KB)